The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE offers one of the best value propositions for a phone from Samsung's stable. While the time of its launch is under debate, for $699, it does feature a good combination of hardware and software, shipping with One UI 4 (based on Android 12). On the other hand, Google Pixel 6, while marred with bugs, has stolen a lot of limelight due to its $599 price and stunning cameras. So if you're considering buying either phone, here is a comparison between the two to help you make your decision.CONTENTS CLOSE
Design and Display
When you look at the Galaxy S21 FE and Pixel 6, the two phones have a drastically different take on design. The Galaxy S21 features Samsung's Contour Cut style and looks more familiar to devices we've now seen in public for over the year. The Pixel 6's take is "more" fresh and definitely out of the ordinary with its horizontal camera bar that stretches from one end to the other on its back.
The Pixel 6 also has an advantage as it uses glass for its back panel, allowing it to feel more premium, whereas Samsung ships the S21 FE with its "glasstic" material. While I can guarantee it doesn't feel bad — its predecessor S20 FE was one of the best feeling phones I used last year — the heft provided by glass on both sides is hard to fault. Also, the back glass on Pixel 6 uses Gorilla Glass 6.
Now, coming to the displays, both phones have similarly sized 6.4-inch FHD+ OLED (1080x2400) panels with a hole punch cutout for the front camera. To be more specific, Samsung uses a Dynamic AMOLED unit, but rather than focus on the nitty-gritty, we believe both displays offer great color, contrast, and brightness. Although, the slimmer bezels on the S21 FE help it look a lot better than the Pixel 6, which has a pretty unlike-2022 look on the front, with its thick bezels.
Speaking of other factors, the Galaxy S21 FE can switch between a fixed 60Hz or 120Hz refresh rate, while the Pixel 6 features an adaptive 90Hz display. Both phones also have Gorilla Glass Victus on the front and feature a metal frame. While for IP Ratings, the S21 FE outdoes the Pixel 6 with IP68, the latter only has an IPX8 rating.
What processor do these devices feature?
The processor on Google's Pixel 6 is one of its most head-turning components. The Google Tensor is another SoC coming from the device OEM rather than Qualcomm — whose Snapdragon 888 ships in North American units of the S21 FE (other regions will feature Samsung's Exynos 2100).
For performance, Google chose to use two high-performance X1 cores on its chip, and you would believe that this means the Snapdragon 888 (or Exynos 2100) would lag behind the processor. But the optimization method picked puts the Tensor in a position comparable with Snapdragon 865 and, in some cases, Snapdragon 888.
The bottom line is in day-to-day usage; you will hardly notice a difference between the two devices. But the higher RAM on Pixel 6 can be a defining factor, as Samsung's lesser RAM and more aggressive background process cleaner may lead to frequent app restarts.
If you're someone looking for extra convenience, we suggest you read about the host of machine learning-based features Google has available on Pixel 6. Speech-to-text conversion, offline translation, and call screening are some that can make owning a Pixel device worth it.
But before we end this section, the Pixel 6 has had some bugs affecting its users and an optical fingerprint sensor that's not on par with most options — S21 FE included. While the experience has varied from one person to another, it is a factor to keep in mind, especially if you're buying the phone as a gift for someone who isn't used to tinkering around with tech.
How does Galaxy S21 FE's camera hardware compare against Google Pixel 6?
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE features a triple camera setup on the back, whereas the Google Pixel 6 uses a dual-camera system. If looking at results, the S21 FE plays it safe. Its camera hardware remains quite similar to the one seen on the Galaxy S21, but it does drop the 64MP Telephoto for an 8MP sensor. The other hardware part of the rear array are the 12MP Wide and 12MP Ultrawide sensors. On the front, S21 FE uses a 32MP sensor. Samsung has left its best sensors on the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
On the other hand, the Pixel 6 shares its two cameras with the expensive Pixel 6 Pro. It uses the same 50MP Wide and 12MP Ultrawide and drops the Telephoto camera. The upgraded hardware and computational photography aspect give the Pixel 6 an advantage, especially with features like Magic Eraser and a capable Night Mode. Although, for the front sensor, Google depends on an 8MP camera.
The Galaxy S21 FE is no slouch, but for most cases, the Pixel 6 does have a better camera hardware setup.
How does the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE compare to Googe Pixel 6 in terms of battery life?
In terms of capacity, the Galaxy S21 FE and Pixel 6 have respectable batteries, 4500 mAh on the former and 4614 mAh on the latter. This means getting a whole day of use on either phone shouldn't be too much to ask. The Galaxy S20 FE was capable of this, and so is the Pixel 6.
For those who charge their devices multiple times in a day, the Galaxy S21 FE is capable of charging with 25W of wired power when using wireless; it comes down to 15W. Pixel 6, on the other hand, can charge up to 50% in 30 minutes and charge at 21W with the second generation Pixel Stand. A standard Qi Charging Stand will provide 12W of power.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE
The latest fan edition from Samsung offers a robust package of hardware that includes a 120Hz display, Snapdragon 888, and a triple camera array capable of capturing great shots.
Google Pixel 6
Pixel 6 is a compact and affordable smartphone from Google's think tank. It packs in the first generation Tensor chipset and new camera hardware. The device starts at $599 and comes in 128GB or 256GB variants.
|Smartphone||Samsung Galaxy S21 FE||Google Pixel 6|
|Operating System||One UI 4.0 based on Android 12||Pixel UI on Android 12|
|Dimensions||155.7 x 74.5 x 7.9 mm||158.6 x 74.8 x 8.9 mm|
|Display||6.4-inch, FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz, (1080 x 2400)||6.4-inch FHD+ OLED Display, Adaptive Refresh Rate (up to 90Hz), (1080 x 2400)|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888||Google Tensor|
|Memory||6GB RAM with 128GB storage|
8GB RAM with 128GB storage
8GB RAM with 256GB storage
|8GB RAM with 128GB storage|
8GB RAM with 256GB storage
|Rear Cameras||12MP, ƒ/1.8 aperture, Dual Pixel AF, OIS |
12MP, ƒ/2.2 aperture, ultrawide with FOV 123-degrees
8MP, ƒ/2.4 aperture, 30x Space Zoom
|50MP, f/1.85 with OIS |
12MP, f/2.2 Ultra-wide Angle
|Front Camera||32MP, ƒ/2.2 aperture||8MP, ƒ/2.0 aperture|
|Security||Under-display Optical Fingerprint Scanner||Under-display Optical Fingerprint Scanner|
|Connectivity||Sub6GHz/ mmWave 5G, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/x, Bluetooth 5.1, Samsung Pay with NFC||Sub6GHz/ mmWave 5G (mmWave for devices sold through AT&T, Verizon, and Google Store), Wi‑Fi 6E (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.2|
25W wired charge speed
15W wireless charge speed
50% charge in up to 30 minutes with 30W USB-C Adapter
21W Wireless Charging with Pixel Stand, 12W Qi Wireless Charging
|Colors||Graphite, Olive, Lavender, White||Storm Black, Sorta Seafoam, Kinda Coral|